A NEW INTRUSION THREATENS A TRIBE IN AMAZON: SOLDIERS
- A NEW INTRUSION THREATENS A TRIBE IN AMAZON: SOLDIERS
from The New York Times
SURUCUCU, Brazil - The Yanomami Indians have lived precariously in the most
remote reaches of the jungle here for thousands of years, hunting with bows
and arrows, and warring among themselves and with the few white intruders
who have appeared in recent years.
But now they are facing a threat to their very existence as a people: the
As part of a program to strengthen the military's presence along Brazil's
vast and largely undefended northern Amazon border, the Brazilian Armed
Forces are building new bases and expanding old ones in territories set
aside for the Yanomami and other tribes. As their numbers expand, soldiers
are increasingly getting Yanomami women pregnant, spreading venereal
disease and disrupting patterns of village life that have endured largely
unchanged since the Stone Age.
"The destruction has already begun," Roberto Angametery, the village chief
here, lamented in an interview in the lodge where members of his community
live together. "The soldiers say they are here to protect us, but they have
brought diseases and taken our land without asking us. Soon there will be
more, and then what will we do? Where will we go?"